Since we had a three day weekend, today is the semi-traditional "what we've been up to" post.
The big weekend event was a surprise weekend getaway organized by Andre. I have to give big props to my brother for working so hard to make sure he, my father, and I still have quality time together (and, by "quality time" I don't mean splitting wood). Some time ago, he asked me what Saturday in May would be good for the Pope men to do something together. I told him the 24th. A few weeks later, I get an email telling me I am supposed to be at some random exit off I-40 at 9:30 in the morning and to bring the following items:
Matches or a lighter
1 Trash bag
2 small sticks about 1in in diameter and at least 6 inches long
A change of clothes including socks and shoes
2 Plastic Drinking Cups
3 Zip Lock Bags
1 12x18 Baking Sheet Pan
I was very intrigued and a little scared. It turned out, however, that most of those things were just a smokescreen, as they were not needed for our actual activity -- whitewater rafting down the Pigeon River. We hooked up with Big Creek Expeditions and our guide Nick took dad, Andre and I down the Pigeon. (And I can't recommend those guys enough. They are a smaller outfit, so you get a little more attention and experienced guides).
I had never been rafting before and, after the orientation, I was a little nervous. I had visions of giant rapids knocking me out of the boat and being caught in some hydraulic which would force me under water and against a rock until I either drowned or was hauled out by my vest. It was actually much smoother than I thought. We ran though some class III and class IV rapids, but our guide really knew what he was doing and the river didn't seem all that rough. The clouds which had hung over us all morning broke after we had been on the river 2o minutes or so, providing some rays to warm us up when we got wet. The only thing that was slightly disappointing about the whole trip was we were one of thirty or forty rafts on the river Saturday, since it was the first real day of the season, a holiday weekend, and there are several companies that make that run. And that really didn't matter that much. It was good just to be on the water with my dad and my brother.
The next Pope Man Trip is already planned -- canoing down the Waccamaw River next March.